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Carmelized Pork (Babi Manis) Recipe

Carmelized Pork (Babi Manis) Recipe

Carmelized Pork (Babi Manis) Recipe

Carmelized Pork is my grandmother’s recipe from her young adult years going back and forth between China and Indonesia. This is a decadent dish, perfect for savoring slowly on a lazy day. Caramelized sugar and salty fish sauce blend to luxuriously coat the tender pork chunks, resulting in a rich, ooey gooey sauce that is simply divine shen served over white rice. Even though I feel like I should run a marathon every time after I eat this dish, I know each sinful bite was worth it. Though the steps may sound complicated, they’re really quite simple once you begin cooking.

Ingredients :

    • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 11/2 cups (375 ml) warm water for soaking + 1/2 cup (125 ml) for marinade
    • 11/2 teaspoons salt
    • Juice of ½ lime
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
    • 5 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 2 tablespoons sugar for marinade + 1 cup for cooking
    • 11/4 lb (600 g) boneless pork ribs or loin, cut into large, bite-size pieces
    • 1 cup (250 ml) cold water

Method :

    1. Soak the sliced onions in 1 1/2 cups of warm water along with the salt in a large bowl. Toss thoroughly and allow to sit for about 3 minutes, then rinse the onions under cold water and drain.
    2. Return the onions to the bowl, adding the remaining 1/2 cup of warm water, lime juice, white pepper, sambal oelek, fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the pork chunks. Mix until the pork is thoroughly coated and all the ingredients have dissolved.
    3. Caramelize 1 cup of the sugar over medium high heat, starting with a cold wok or pot. The sugar should caramelize in 4 to 7 minutes depending on the heat used. Once the sugar begins to melt, gently shake the wok or pot to redistribute the sugar as evenly as possible.
    4. Once the sugar has turned a beautiful golden caramel color, carefully add the marinated pork and onion mixture. Take care to protect yourself from any splattering caramel because if it hits bare skin it is very painful. Using a wooden spatula, stir the pork and caramel vigorously, making sure to scrape the bottom of the wok or pot. Parts of the caramel will harden when the pork mixture is added due to the difference in temperature. However, once the pork has come up to temperature, the caramel will begin to melt again.
    5. Add the cup of cold water bit by bit, mixing it slowly into the simmering pork. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pork is done once the liquid has reduced to a thick, syrupy consistency. Serve immediately with steamed rice.